Thursday, November 11, 2010

EU calls for one trillion euros in energy investments

BRUSSELS — The European Commission unveiled on Thursday its energy strategy for the next decade, calling for one trillion euros (1.38 trillion dollars) of investment to improve efficiency and reduce pollution.

The European Union's executive called for measures to save energy, reduce household utility bills and secure supplies in a sustainable way across the 27-nation bloc.

"Putting our energy system onto a new, more sustainable and secure path may take time but ambitious decisions need to be taken now," said Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger.

"To have an efficient, competitive and low-carbon economy we have to europeanise our energy policy and focus on a few but pressing priorities," he said.

The EU executive called for the bloc to coordinate its energy policy with other countries in its "Energy 2020" strategy.

Securing energy supplies gained urgency following a gas price dispute between Russia and Ukraine in January 2009, which left several EU states without Russian gas.

The commission also identified transport and buildings as the two sectors with the biggest potential for energy savings.

Investment incentives and financial instruments would be proposed by the middle of next year to help home-owners and the public sector pay for renovations and energy saving measures, the commission said.

The EU has already set a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warming by 20 percent by 2020.

The commission proposed major projects to strengthen Europe's leadership in energy technology and innovation through new technologies, electricity storage, research on second-generation biofuels, and energy savings in urban areas.

Copyright © 2010 AFP